Oxycodone (Oxycontin) Addiction
Oxycodone (OxyContin) is among the most prescribed opioid pain relief medications. However, this medication is also associated with thousands of drug overdose deaths each year. It also leads to the development of an opioid use disorder. Read on to find out more:
About Oxycodone (OxyContin)
Oxycodone (OxyContin) is classified as a narcotic pain relief medication or an analgesic. This effectively means that it is commonly prescribed for the treatment of moderate to severe pain, especially among patients struggling with both ongoing and episodic conditions like cancer and post-operation.
Chemically speaking, oxycodone (OxyContin) is designed in such a way that it is like morphine. Since it produces similar effects, it is also classified as a synthetic opioid. Like other narcotics, it also comes with a high risk of substance abuse and addiction.
OxyContin, on the other hand, is an extended release version of oxycodone. This means that it tends to be more potent than other immediate release versions of this drug. For this reason, you should only take it once after 12 hours if you are struggling with a condition that requires round the clock treatment - such as cancer.
If you start abusing this drug, you will often melt or crush the extended release tablets so that you can inject the resulting solution. By so doing, you will be able to derive an intense and instant high from it.
Other Names for Oxycodone (OxyContin)
On the streets, OxyContin is also known by the following names:
- Hillbilly Heroin
- Oxy 80s
Signs and Symptoms of Oxycodone (OxyContin) Addiction
If you continue abusing OxyContin, you may eventually develop tolerance to its effects. This means that you will have to take the drug in higher doses or more frequently than you used to before you can experience the pleasurable effects that you are looking for.
Over time, tolerance will give rise to both physical and psychological dependence, as well as the development of an opioid use disorder. When this happens, you will start displaying some of the following signs and symptoms of OxyContin addiction:
- Abnormal thoughts
- Becoming secretive about your whereabouts
- Changes in appearance
- Dilated pupils
- Drugged driving
- Dry mouth
- Having multiple prescription bottles written by different doctors and from different pharmacies
- Inability to meet your responsibilities to familiar standards
- Lack of hygiene
- Lifestyle changes
- Personality changes
- Poor grooming
- Social isolation
Short and Long-Term Effects of Oxycodone (OxyContin) Abuse
In the same way, you could experience a wide variety of effects as a result of your OxyContin abuse. These side effects include:
- Abnormal dreams
- Abnormal thoughts
- Dry mouth
- Loss of appetite
- Mental fog
- Stomach pain
Oxycodone (OxyContin) Overdose
If you continue abusing OxyContin, there is a high risk that you could suffer a drug overdose that could potentially turn out to be fatal. When this happens, you could experience the following signs of an oxycodone overdose:
- Bluish tint to the lips and fingernails
- Coma (or unresponsiveness)
- Dry mouth
- Extreme drowsiness
- Extreme fatigue
- Fast heartbeat
- Low blood pressure
- No breathing
- Profound sedation
- Respiratory arrest
- Respiratory depression
- Shallow and slow or even labored breathing
- Small pupils
- Weak pulse
The risk of suffering OxyContin overdose will be heightened if you mix this drug with other intoxicating and addictive substances, especially those that cause effects that are similar to what you would experience when you took this opioid drug.
It is recommended that you seek emergency medical attention as soon as you realize that you are overdosing on OxyContin, or if someone is suffering such a drug overdose. This is because it could cause some adverse effects that could lead to sudden death unless the condition is managed as soon as possible.
Oxycodone (OxyContin) Withdrawal Symptoms
Addiction is one of the side effects that you can expect to suffer when you abuse OxyContin. When you become addicted and you stop abusing the drug, there is a high risk that you could experience some withdrawal symptoms.
If you suddenly reduce your usual dose of OxyContin, or suddenly stop taking it, you could become sick. This is because of the withdrawal symptoms that you will start experiencing. Most of these symptoms will appear even if you have been taking the drug exactly as your doctor prescribed - that is, in between the 12 hour doses that they recommended.
These symptoms include but are not always limited to:
- Abdominal cramps
- Body aches
- Dilated pupils
- Enlarged pupils
- Goose bumps
- Muscle aches
- Runny nose
- Tearing of the eyes
The withdrawal experience is so adverse that you might feel like you are dying. However, you need to understand that opioid withdrawal is not always life-threatening. Even so, it might be difficult for you to maintain your sobriety. This means that the dope sickness could cause you to relapse and start abusing OxyContin again.
The only way you can prevent this from happening is by checking into a professionally managed addiction treatment program that offers medical detox services. This way, you will be able to manage your withdrawal symptoms before they get the better of you.
The Best Options for Oxycodone (OxyContin) Addiction Treatment
If you have been diagnosed with an opioid use disorder involving OxyContin, it is recommended that you go for thorough assessment and evaluation from an accredited addiction treatment and rehabilitation program.
After the evaluation, you will be provided with medically managed and supervised detoxification services. The goal of these services is to manage and ease your painful opioid withdrawal symptoms.
Sometimes, the drug rehab program might recommend that you take some medications. These drugs can help you reduce your cravings for OxyContin, as well as allow your brain to start recovering from your addiction.
Examples of these prescription medications include naltrexone, methadone, and buprenorphine. When you get started on them, the treatment will be referred to as ORT - or opioid replacement therapy - or MAT - medication assisted treatment.
Today, MAT is considered to be the gold standard in the treatment of opioid use disorders involving drugs like OxyContin. During this treatment, however, you will also receive intensive behavioral therapy and counseling.
Based on your particular circumstances and needs, you may go through rehabilitation on an outpatient or an inpatient basis. The duration of your treatment will also vary widely based on these needs.
In the same way that there are no two people who are exactly alike, you can be sure that your treatment module will be different from what another OxyContin addiction will go through.
The main thing to keep in mind is that you will probably need a full continuum of treatment and care. This will often start with an intake process following by a thorough medical detox stage.
Other treatments that may be provided in the course of your rehabilitation include:
- Aftercare programming
- Animal therapy
- Attending peer and 12-Step support group meetings
- Chiropractic care
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT
- Continuing to attend group and/or individual therapy
- Equine-assisted therapy
- Expressive arts therapy
- Family therapy
- Getting help through engaging case management services
- Going for regular checkups and drug tests
- Group recovery meetings
- Group therapy
- Living in sober living homes
- Maintaining the demands of your substitution therapy program, such as going for prescription refills
- Massage therapy
- Music therapy
- Recovery-oriented challenge therapy
Irrespective of how hard things might seem to be, you should always remember that it is possible to achieve full recovery from your opioid use disorder, even if it involves a strong drug like OxyContin.
Research studies have shown that countless individuals have been able to overcome their substance use disorders linked to oxycodone and many other prescription medications. It is also possible for you to take advantage of special treatments like medication assisted treatments to ensure that you address your addiction.
Over the long term, ongoing treatment on both an inpatient and outpatient basis could be the best solution for your OxyContin abuse and addiction. It is recommended that you continue following your treatment plan to ensure that you do not relapse or give in to any temptations to abuse this drug.